February 5, 2016

Kalachand Temple - Bishnupur

Site Name: Kalachand  Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Bishnupur, West Bengal state, India
Highlights: A fine example for Eka Ratna temple style 
Nearest Railway Station: Bishnupur
Nearest Airport: Kolkata 
How to reach: Easily reachable from Kolkata, which is around 160 kms away
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Kolkata; Bishnupur too has many decent options for stay
Restaurants: Limited mid-range options in Bishnupur

Bishnupur is a town located in Bankura district in West Bengal state of India. It is located at a distance of around 160 kms from Kolkata, the capital city of Bengal. It is famous for the 17th and 18th century Terracotta temples and balucheri sarees. Let us explore a very beautiful temple called Kalachand Temple in Bishnupur in this article.
Kalachand Temple

History:

The area around Bishnupur was called as Mallabhum region in the olden days. The region, which can also be called as Bishnupur Kingdom was ruled by Malla dynasty for many centuries. The Muslim or Mughal invasion did not affect this region much. Adi Malla was the founder of the dynasty. 

Bishnupur rose into prominence during the reign of the King Bir Hambir. He introduce the worship of Madan Mohan (Lord Krishna). During his period as well as during the period of another King named Bir Singha, many beautiful brick temples were built. 
Bas-relief images 

Stone was in short supply in Bengal. Probably, this lead to an alternative in the name of elaborately decorated terracotta temples. The Malla Kings built many such terracotta temples in the 17th and 18th century CE in Bishnupur. 

Temple Architecture and Layout:

There are seven Eka Ratna (meaning single pinnacled) temples located in Bishnupur. Nandalal temple is the first Eka Ratna temple in that group. It is located very near to Dalmadal Canon. Opposite to Nandalal temple, a cluster of three temples called as Jor Mandir are located. Adjacent to that, Radha Gobinda temple is located. Hardly five minutes walk from this temple would take us to another Eka Ratna temple, Radha Madhav temple. Further down in the same complex, the seventh laterite EKa Ratna temple called Kalachand temple is located. In earlier days, all these laterite temples were all covered with stucco images. However, with passing of time, most of the stucco works are lost. 


Kalachand  temple is a beautiful laterite temple built as per Eka Ratna temple architecture style. Like most of the other temples in Bishnupur, this is also dedicated to Lord Krishna (called as Kalachand  in this temple). However, there is no deity found in this temple currently. The temple is square on plan. It has a sloping roof surmounted by a single sikhara, thus making them as Eka Ratna. It has few bas-relief carvings in the front side wall depicting the scenes from Ramayan and Krishna Lila mainly. 

The temple was built by Raghunath Singha, the Malla King, in 1656 CE.

Happy travelling.


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